PLANS have been revealed for a new early learning and childcare centre in Peebles.

Scottish Borders Council is proposing to build a new centre on the grounds of Priorsford Primary School, on Marmion Road, in order to meet demand for the rollout of extra childcare hours. 

By 2020, the Scottish Government aims to provide all children aged three or four, and some vulnerable two-year-olds, with 1,140 hours of free childcare, nearly double the amount parents were previously entitled to.

The proposed new childcare facility at Priorsford Primary School will cater for 95 children, with 15 spaces allocated to children aged two to three years old, and 80 spaces given to three to five year olds. 

A design statement accompanying the application, submitted by Scottish Borders Council’s architect Ray Cherry, reads: “It is essential that the design solution considers the long-term revenue implications for the extension therefore the specification for the walls; roof and floor types will be an improvement on those stipulated in the building regulations. 

“This will be achieved by the proposed choice of windows and increased levels of insulation which will reduce the revenue costs associated with heating the new building. 

“It will be predominantly naturally ventilated by an array of large openable windows and roof lights. 

“These will be double glazed to enhance the thermal performance which will in turn improve the internal environment for occupants and reduce heating costs. All of the lighting will be LED to meet current school standards. 

“The proposal will also consider renewables, including air source heat pumps and photovoltaic panels (PV).

“This is an exciting opportunity to raise the standard of early learning and childcare provision in Peebles. 

“It will provide the required increase in provision as set by Scottish Government for 2020 and will offer an environment which is flexible, modern and meets the criteria set out by the professional education body and the Care Inspectorate. 

“It aims to set the benchmark and act as a ‘model’ nursery which sets the standard for future local educational developments.”

The new building will be situated to the east of Priorsford Primary School, on land that is currently used for outdoor teaching. 

Priorsford was officially opened in 1973, and subsequent extensions in the 2000s has increased the school’s capacity.

Currently, Priorsford has a roll of approximately 440 children and an additional 60 children for the nursery; 30 in the morning and 30 in the afternoon.